Last night, the missus and I was enjoying The Party with Peter Sellers. The film is his typical goofy slapstick, with lots of situations where he makes a complete ass of himself.
Am I the only one who can’t bear to sit through scenes like that? It seems like I feel sympathetic embarrassment for the actor/actress. I think the worst ones are when a clumsy guy is bungling an attempt to ask for a date; I’m quite capable of fast-forwarding over the dialog until such scenes finish.
There was an episode of Star Trek Voyager, called Bride of Chaotica or something. Janeway ended up stuck in one of Paris’ 50s tv serials, and ended up being the bride of the villian.
To watch her vamping and rolling her eyes while trying to shut down the holodeck, I just wanted to run up and hug her. I got the horrible feeling she hated the episode and was just doing it because she was under contract.
This is why I can’t watch Seinfeld reruns even though I enjoyed the show–watching George or Elaine do incredibly embarassing things revealing a complete lack of social graces is just too cringeworthy to be able to endure again.
Not so much squirm as lunge for the remote/volume control. Specifically, an situation where a character is trying to adlib his or her way out of a situation in which the truth would be an infinitely better idea.
I don’t think it’s eveer happened to me in a movie, but I’m quite certain that there were episodes of I Love Lucy that I couldn’t sit through, for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like the show, but…
How strange, I thought I was the only one. I can’t watch <i>Seinfeld</i> at all, it’s too painful. <i>Meet the Parents</i> was likewise one long descent into agony.
This squirminess is tenfold for reality shows. At least in a fictional show or movie, I suppose someone is getting paid to do such terrible things. But the reality shows! My gawd! These are actual people who are behaving so ineptly! Oh, the humanity.
I get it too. I also get it when the premise is all based on lies and/or deceit. I know that “Bad Boys” wasn’t exactly a pinnacle of cinematic brilliance, but we rented it a couple of years ago.
I ranted to the hubman, “There wouldn’t have been any PROBLEM if he’d just told her the TRUTH.”
Hubman: “If he just told her the TRUTH, there wouldn’t have been enough plot for an entire MOVIE.”
So…any “comedy” which uses a lie as its basis (with the exception of movies like “Liar Liar,” which OBVIOUSLY use it as the entire PLOT) is, in my opinion, nothing but a writer with a sit-com script and a personal assistant who gives AMAZING head.
But yeah…watching any character make a painful ass of him/herself makes me want to go to the bathroom and pray that I time it right to miss the devastation. I hate that so very much.
I squirm, not so much because I am embarrassed for the character, but because the situation is so predictable that I know exactly what is going to happen next. It’s that combination of embarrassment and predictability that makes me uncomfortable.
I was like this even as a child. I’d watch a show with my family, get uncomfortable, and, since I couldn’t change the channel because other people were watching, I’d go off into my room to find something else to do. My parents thought that I just didn’t like to watch TV.
Embaressing scenes make me squirm too, but I liked Sienfield. They’d always have the set up, but never show the payoff. You’d always know George is about to be really embaressed but it would always cut to a scene of him telling someone else about it. Viewers could have their cake and eat it too since we were being spared the cringe scenes. I think that was the reason it was so popular.
Funny, I don’t have those problems with Seinfeld. It’s different because the characters on that show were despicable people and deserved what they got (for the most part). In fact, that’s what made the show so great, in my opinion.